Jian Ghomeshi: The Winners and Losers
The news that Jian Ghomeshi has apologized to his former CBC colleague, Kathryn Borel, and will not go to trial in June, as scheduled, for the last of the sexual assault charges he was facing, is really not news at all.
Anyone who followed the first trial in March and was familiar with the transcript of the judge’s remarks could see where this was going.
And it was not going to find Ghomeshi guilty.
The mediated settlement which required him to apologize, post a peace bond and agree to not meet with or contact Borel was an appropriate resolution.
I thought at the time that Justice William Horkins made a thoroughly convincing argument for why the law dictated that Ghomeshi could not be found guilty.
And my seat mate on a recent flight, a crown attorney who has prosecuted sex cases, confirmed that right from the beginning this was destined to be a losing case for the prosecution, even before defence attorney Marie Heinen strutted her stuff.
My flight companion pointed to the huge gap in time between the alleged assaults and the charges, the memory lapses that resulted, the contradictions, collusion between witnesses and the lack of any third party witnesses or corroborating evidence.
It was, under the circumstances, impossible to find him guilty, she said.
And this from a prosecutor!
So, no surprise that a second trial won’t happen.
What we’re left with is a situation in which everyone involved has won a little and lost a little.
The biggest loser, of course, is Ghomeshi, whose public humiliation mirrors the private humiliation the women say they experienced because of his abuse.
His humiliation, spectacular downfall, loss of employment and his public apology, together with his admission that he’s been seeking therapy, should offer some compensation to the women who are disappointed at the lack of a guilty verdict.
And the biggest winner?
All the rest of us.
We can rejoice in the rule of law and the sensible way it was applied in these cases.
We can also be grateful that sexual assault, harassment, impropriety or whatever you want to call it is no longer tolerated and that both men and women are becoming more aware of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.